Renault could respond to the "transformative merger" offer from Fiat Chrysler (FCA) as early as next week.
Should the French automaker green light FCA's proposal, it will sign a non-binding agreement and enter formal negotiations on the details of a full merger between the two companies.
In a statement to the press, Renault called FCA's plan a "friendly proposal". It said the board will "study with interest the opportunity of such a business combination, comforting Group Renault’s manufacturing footprint and creating additional value for the Alliance".
Nissan and Mitsubishi
Quite where the possible FCA and Renault merger leaves Nissan and Mitsubishi is a matter of some debate. Both companies are locked in an alliance with Renault. Renault owns a 44% voting rights share in Nissan, and has two seats on its board.
Nissan in turn owns a 15% vote-free share of Renault, as well as a 34% controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Under the proposed merger, current Renault and FCA shareholders would be equal owners of the combined automaker.
The merger would dilute Nissan's stake in Renault and reduce its board influence, as it would only have one seat on a board with 11 members.
On the upside, thanks to the combined automaker being headquartered in the Netherlands, the Japanese automaker would at last have voting rights.
Renault CEO Thierry Bollore and chairman Jean-Dominique Senard have arrived in Tokyo for a regular meeting of the Alliance executive. They are expected to discuss the merger with their counterparts at Nissan and Mitsubishi.
So far Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa has refused to share his thoughts on the merger in public. On Monday he told reporters including those from the Nikkei he's "open to any forward-looking discussions to strengthen the alliance".
He also said this week's Alliance meeting will be a chance "to exchange opinions openly and have a constructive dialogue".
In a letter to the Nikkei, John Elkann, Fiat Chrysler's chairman professed to a "huge respect for Nissan and Mitsubishi, and their products and businesses".
He went on to say "our proposed merger with Renault will create the potential to build a global partnership with all three of these great companies during this period of unprecedented transformation in our industry" and that his company's "spirit is one of finding a common purpose that provides benefits for all our companies, embracing Nissan and Mitsubishi as valued and respected partners".